Garsons Pick Your Own Farm – Esher

Hello my lovelies,

Today we decided to make the most of the last of the Pick Your Own (PYO) seasons and headed into the lovely little suburb of Esher.

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Not only is Garsons a fabulous PYO farm where during the peak season you can pick lovely fruit and vegetables, it is also an award winning farm shop and garden centre. Their premises also boast a fabulous restaurant and gift and homeware store.

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Since we’d already been to Pumpkin Moon for pumpkins earlier in the week, we decided to see what other vegetables we could pick for the week.  Sadly, we’d left it a little late for much of the PYO farm produce but were delighted to find that courgettes, carrots, cabbage, french beans and squash were still available.

We had thankfully had the forethought to wear our wellies and got stuck in! Missy had great fun digging up carrots and finding the biggest french beans  in the first field.

We drove around to the next field and found some decent corn on the cob despite the corn season being over.  We also managed to find tender broccoli florets. Cabbages are in season and I  picked three to use in our cooking in the coming weeks.  The find of the day, however was our much loved gem squashes! These are a staple in South Africa and we have missed them terribly!  The ones we bought at Pumpkin Moon for £1 each have already been devoured.  These gem squashes were only £1.29 a kilo which worked out to be better value and we took as many as we could find.

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The last field we gathered from was full of marrows and courgettes.  Marrows are not my favourite as I find them quite watery but I do love courgettes.  We filled our bag with these tender little beauties and I can’t wait to steam them and serve them with a little butter and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt.

Once we’d picked as much as we wanted, we headed to the kiosk to weigh our spoils and were very surprised to only pay £14!  What a bargain!  Not only did we bring home a gorgeous bounty of the season’s best to feed our family, we had a fantastic morning out while Missy learned more about where our food comes from.  A win-win situation!

On the cards this week will be carrot cake muffins for Missy’s school packed lunch and carrot soup for me. We’ll also have a roast chicken dinner with roasted pumpkin, steamed courgettes, corn and roasted pumpkin.  I save time during the week but steaming a large batch of veggies when I do my Sunday roast. This means I have lots of sides readily available during the week.

Tomorrow when I do my grocery shop I’ll be buying some clear stand up zip lock bags to freeze my soup in.  I’ve plans for carrot soup and some roasted pumpkin, chili and coconut soup to fill the freezer.  Also on the cards will be my favourite french onion soup. Not an autumn goes by without me making a batch of this gorgeousness!

Don’t you just love Autumn?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

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Easy Focaccia

Hello my lovelies,

I must apologize for not blogging much recently, I am working on rectifying this and hope to bring you some great blog posts, recipes and ideas every week starting today.

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It’s half-term for us and as such I try to do some baking or cooking with Missy (DD has now been renamed to Missy since she’s 7 going on 15!). She was really craving pizza but as a dairy free kid she can’t have shop bought pizza.  I know I can buy frozen pizza bases but I find they expensive when we can whip up a batch of pizza dough for mere pennies.  Plus, I get the added bonus of teaching Missy about weights and measures and help her to learn the life skill of cooking.

We made her pizza and used Marchego cheese which is a hard goats cheese. While I know this isn’t dairy free it doesn’t contain the cows milk protein that affects her, however, she only has it occasionally.

After we made her pizza, there was a lot of dough left and I really didn’t fancy pizza because I was having chicken soup for lunch.  Then I had an inspired thought… I could make focaccia!

 

This pizza dough is really versatile and can be used to make pizzas, focaccia, calzones, dough balls and much more.  Check out Kitchn’s post for some great ideas.

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Here’s the pizza dough recipe I use.  It’s easy enough for kids to help but best made in the morning so that it has time to prove if you want to use it to make lunch. If you’re using it to make dinner, make it in the early afternoon.

Easy Pizza dough

500g plain flour

1 sachet of dried yeast

1 tsp each of sugar and salt

250ml of warm water mixed with 2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the dough is soft and well combined.  Knead well in the bowl for about 5 minutes to break down the gluten.

Place the dough in a warm place covered with a tea towel for about an hour until it’s doubled in size. Probably about an hour or so.

Knead the dough again  (also called knocking it back) for another 5 minutes. Cover with the tea towel and allow to rise in warm place.  About 1-2 hours.  It should be nicely risen.

This should make one small pizza and one swiss roll pan sized focaccia.

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To make the focaccia,  simply grease a swiss roll pan with a little olive oil and press the remaining pizza dough into the pan.  Make little dents in the dough with your fingers pressing all the way into the bottom of the pan.  Add some fresh sprigs of rosemary and brush with more olive oil all over the surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 220 degrees Celsius until it’s golden brown.

Simples!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and as always, if you try the recipe please leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

Sugar free spiced apple ice tea

Hello my lovelies,

I’m trying to cut sugar free fizzy drinks from my diet and let me tell you it’s really difficult!  Especially since I’ve got my coffee consumption to just one a day.  I mean, I like water but it’s getting really boring and I’ve been craving something a little tastier to drink while at work.

Enter, my recipe for Sugar free spiced apple ice tea!

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It’s low carb, sugar free and deliciously refreshing! What more could you ask for in a Summer drink?

The recipe is basically the same as my ultimate southern sweet ice tea just sugar free.

This recipe will make approximately 1 litre of base tea.   To make up a jug of iced tea, you will need to add 750ml of icy cold water to 250ml of the cold base tea.  If the base has just been made and is still warm but you’d like to make up a batch of iced tea for later, add 750ml of cold water to 250ml of the warm base sweet tea and refrigerate for about 4 hours.  Overnight is better, I’m told.

To make the tea base you will need:

  • 1 litre cold water (more for topping up)
  • 6 Spiced apple teabags
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 100g of Truvia

Place 1 litre of water on to boil. Once it’s boiling, turn off the heat and dump in your tea bags and let them steep for about 15 minutes.  Add the lemon juice.

Remove the tea bags and discard.  Pour in the Truvia and stir to completely dissolve.

Pour into a bottle and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before placing in the fridge. Don’t ever put hot stuff straight into your fridge.

I’ve filled my large water bottle and it’s in the fridge ready and waiting to go to work with me.

Can’t wait!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Basic Pikelets

Hello my lovelies,

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Today I wanted to share one of my family’s favourite breakfasts.   We’re creatures of habit and usually have things like over easy eggs with toast fingers, cereal or toast with some sort of spread – all of which are super easy to make in the morning.  When I am not too tired, I’ll make up a batch of pikelets the night before and freeze half the batch.  If any pikelets aren’t used for the next day’s breakfast I’ll simply pop them in the fridge for snacks or for breakfast over the next few days.  This recipe is super quick and easily doubled for the freezer.

150g self-raising flour

55g caster sugar

1/4t bicarbonate of soda

1 egg

3/4 cup milk (I use almond milk to make these dairy free for DD)

1t white vinegar

15g melted butter (or dairy free spread)

Place the flour, sugar and bicarb in a bowl and mix together well.  Make a well in centre into which you will crack the egg.  Add the milk, vinegar and melted butter and combine until smooth.  I like to use my hand mixer to do this but it’s easily done with a good old fashioned wooden spoon.

Heat your frying pan, and lightly grease it with a little oil that you spread around with a piece of kitchen towel.  The pan should not be dripping in oil. You need surprisingly little oil and probably won’t need to re-grease the pan again unless you have doubled the recipe.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan from the tip of the spoon to make nice round pikelets.  Allow room in the pan for spreading.

When bubbles start to form, but just before they burst turn the pikelets with a spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown.  Slide the cooked pikelets onto a plate, cover with a clean tea towel and repeat with the rest of the batter.

We serve our pikelets with different spreads depending on our mood.  Sometimes we’ll have them with some butter /dairy free spread and strawberry jam or with syrup and blueberries.  DD’s favourite combo is dairy free chocolate spread and sliced strawberries. Don’t know it until you’ve tried it. Pure heaven!

As always, if you try my recipe, please let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear from you.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

Princess unicorn marshmallow crispy treats

Hello my lovelies,

I’m back with another recipe. It seems like all I’ve been doing recently but I’m loving the domesticity.  You guys know I have a culinary crush on Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman, right?  Well I do, and I’ve been watching her series on the telly and practically drooling over her home cooking.  On the latest show I watched, Ree made these gorgeous pecan marshmallow crispy treats and I couldn’t wait to give them a go.

No really, I couldn’t even wait until I had been to Morrisons, so I made them up with what I had. Of course, I didn’t have any regular white marshmallows so the mixture came out pink and my daughter dubbed them Princess Unicorn marshmallow crispies.

Because they’re rainbow coloured and pink of course!

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Ree’s basic recipe ingredients are:

4 tablespoons of butter plus extra for greasing

300g marshmallows (I used pink and yellow ones)

1/4 t of salt

6 cups of rice crispies

First grease your dish well, I used a square one and it worked out perfectly.  Next add the butter to a large (I used my pressure cooker!) pot and once melted add the marshmallows. Melt on a low heat making sure to stir to prevent it catching.

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Add the salt and the 6 cups of rice crispies.

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Here you can add anything you have lying about to ‘flavour’ them.  I added white chocolate chunks, 1/2 a bag of mini pink and white marshmallows and 1/2 a bag of smarties.

Mix it all together and dump it out into the greased dish.  Working quickly, spread out in the dish to reach the sides and trying to make sure the layer is even.  I found that although I worked quickly, the mashmallow mixture started to get really sticky and I was getting more clinging to the wooden spoon than in the actual bowl.

On a spark of brilliance, I wet my hands a little and pressed the mixture into the pan in a nice even layer.

Again, working quickly, I poured over a slab of melted white chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.

I refrigerated for 3 hours then cut into squares.

Mr R and dear daughter (DD) adores these!

I’m already considering some other interesting combinations…. stay tuned

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Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Super easy Lemonade

Hello my lovelies,

I’ve had a hankering recently for some sweet yet sharp and icy cold homemade lemonade. You know, the kind that makes you sigh in satisfaction as you lazily watch the roses in your garden bob their heads in the breeze?

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That’s what we made today and it is delicious.

First you need 6 unwaxed lemons chopped into quarters.  Then add 280g of sugar to your food processor along with with 500ml of cold water.  Toss in the lemons gently.

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Blend for about 5 minutes.  Next lay a large bowl into your sink with a fine sieve over it and pour over the lemon mix.

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Now, push all the lemon pulpy mix with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much juice as possible.

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Throw the lemon pulp in the bin and remove the sieve.  Then add 1.5 litres of cold water to the bowl of lemonade and mix.

Pour into a jug with slices of lemon and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  Of course, you could just pour it over ice but I didn’t have any.

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We’re having ours tonight with dough balls, homemade pizza and salad.

I can’t wait.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x